Is the internet Killing the Book Review?

Adrianna W. posted this (her post is public, so if you are on FB, join in), so, you know… HT to her:

But the democratizing of book reviews, such that even self-published and low print-run books published by small presses can garner dozens of reviews by promoting “blog tours” or sending copies to readers with the expectation that they will post an Amazon review, has led not to better information for readers, but to a preponderance of inaccurate gushing.

How the Internet is Killing the Book Review.

John Hobbins spoke about this issue at the 2012 SBL Online Media and Publications section. You can read his paper here. I had hoped to see a follow-up section on this very topic, as his was a call rather than a diagram of what to expect. That section has yet to materialize.

Given the rise of online review platforms, such as Marginalia and Syndicate, not to mention the droves of bloggers who review, I have to agree that we need something of a standard. Of course, this will have to go both ways. Publishers have to be less willing to give out review copies if the reviewer doesn’t do a good job.

There is little doubt I have my favorite publishers, and not just because they give me books to review. I trust IVP, Kregel, Eerdmans, Baker, Fortress, and Energion because of their standards. I do not trust other publishers, and no I will not mention them. buT Y kNow, Don’t you, the not-ALE HOUSE i’m talking about? And likewise, I want them to trust me to give an honest review. Also, there are times I do my best to let some publishers, even passively, know that I do not need to be considered for some books. Seriously, I cannot handle much more of the inerrancy debate.

Some other thoughts…

I try to give good reviews based on the goal of the book and how effectively the author reaches it. For instance, in a recent review, I disagree with some of the author’s conclusions on X — however, that was not the goal of the book. I did mention that I disagreed with it, but I moved on. Sometimes, the goal of the book is simply not met and/or met in such a way as to cause some concern with the author’s cognitive capacity. American Patriot’s Bible, anyone?

Even with Kruger’s book about the canon, I tried to give an honest review and not because of the publisher and the awesome people there.

Sometimes, I end my reviews with “buy/read this book if X” so as to tell who would like the book.

The author of the above piece notes that she had received negative feedback from authors, publishers, and fans of those books she didn’t like. To be honest, unless the review needs a response (as a review of Chris Keith’s book did, once) authors and publishers should sort of mind their own business about reviews. Fans will follow you around. That’s the nature of the game. If you are perceived as bad mouthing a hero and you will be attacked. This is where the “block” feature comes in handy.

Further, the author notes “I recall one first-time author whose friends penned lavish review after lavish review.” This is not going to be fixed, except by ethical authors. I mean, friends aren’t going to always read the book as an unbiased observer — but because they are familiar with the author may more often than not hear the voice of the author while they are reading the book. Yes, friends may simply pen a review because of friendship, but I would suspect that lavish reviews are in part due to knowing the author. Publishers should work to not send authors’ friends copies. Authors will, however, do so. 

Again, the ethical considerations for and in book reviewing needs to go both ways, or three ways.

But to the blogger’s point. I do not think the internet is killing the book review. I think it is helping to further knowledge, advance the Kingdom, and to serve the intellectual appetites of many. Just because you get some garbage with the gold doesn’t mean the book review is dead, in the server room, with the space bar.

Top 10 things to give up during Lent

What am I giving up for Lent? Click here!

  1. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  2. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  3. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  4. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  5. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  6. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  7. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  8. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  9. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus
  10. Jim West – Zwinglius Redivivus

 

AncientThought | Call for Contributors

This is a snippet:

We are seeking suitably qualified contributors to write entries on the following topics for AncientThought.com’s timeline on early Christian history. Please note that AncientThought is an academic resource, and potential contributors are expected to have (or to be working towards) a PhD in a relevant field to the topic that they are requesting to author, and to preferably have published in the area as well. All entries should be submitted no later than 1 November 2014. For more information please see our “Notes for Contributors“ handout.

To inquire about contributing an entry please e-mail the relevant editor whose name is listed below the title of each section. Many topics have already been assigned to contributors so not every topic that will be included in the project is listed below; however if you think that we are missing a topic that should be considered please feel free to contact us about its possible inclusion. Depending on the volume of response we receive we aim to inform successful applicants by the end of February 2014. Additionally, for scholars who wish to demonstrate “research impact” or audience engagement with their work we can provide a detailed bi-annual breakdown  of visitors to the early Christian timeline.

GO HERE FOR MORE DETAILS AncientThought | Call for Contributors.

the best new blog/resource out there…

The goal of Biblical Studies Online is to provide both biblical scholars and the interested wider public with ease of access to quality biblical scholarship, as it comes available online.

More and more biblical scholarship is being published open-access and online – not only in traditional book form, but in a variety of media, including videos and sound recordings.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult to locate these resources on the internet, and sometimes difficult for those less experienced with biblical scholarship to distinguish worthwhile material from that which is inaccurate or even grossly misleading. And when it comes to the Bible, there is no shortage of the latter to be found. For this reason, Biblical Studies Online offers a gateway for the dissemination and publicizing of worthwhile open-access, online biblical scholarship.

To search for online Biblical Studies resources, please either click on the category in which you are interested, or use the search-box, in the column to the right.

Biblical Studies Online is maintained by:

Prof. James Crossley, University of Sheffield

Dr. Deane Galbraith, University of Otago

via About |.

A New Year, a new blog direction

With each “new year” people like to make changes. They vow this or that, to do this or that or not to do this or that; however, most fall back into their ways soon enough. The same goes with blogging. I’ve changed course once or twice on this blog, moving from fundamentalism to a better Christianity. I’ve also stopped with the heresy hunting, among other things. And, I’ve stopped with the RSS feed. I’ve turned that, the re-posting of stories that I like or catches my attention, to the blog’s Facebook page.

With all of these changes taking place naturally over the past few years, I don’t really need another change. I think such committals are usually a sign of the blogger and a lack of desire to continue blogging.

This year is going to be a busy one, I think. I have to start writing the dissertation. I have an offer to submit to two volumes in a rather popular and heavily academic Brill series (3 are out thus far). Further, I would like to submit to two SBL sections this year. Granted, one of those proposals, and if accept then one of those papers, will be the basis for one of the chapters submitted to the Brill series, but over all this will be a very busy year for me.

I am looking for dedicated contributors, of course. Still. Always. So, let me know.

And, I will try to focus on Mary a bit and try to show you why I have no issue with the adoration of Mary. Remember, adoration and worship are two different things.

Ways for Institutions to Embrace Student Blogging

While we are finishing redrafting the SBL paper, I wanted to share with you some of the ways I believe institutions could foster student blogging. One of the issues Brian LePort raised was insistence on Google of keeping everything. Google doesn’t actually keep everything, but it does keep a lot and for a long time.

Anyway, to answer some of the questions raises — like who owns the material, etc… — this is what I’d propose:

  1. Create a class blog via one of the blog programs that allow multiple authors or even blogs. This will allow the material created to remain under the domain of the professor if not the institution. This point will help define the following points.
  2. Blogging is not meant to take the place of classroom learning nor classroom participation. It is merely meant to supplement it. To insure the student engages in the classroom, the professor should require blogging but likewise limit blogging. Require a certain number of blog posts or other online engagement, because by doing so you also may reserve the right to limit engagement.
  3. Allow your students to blog their classroom assignment and/or experience. However, as I was cautioned by one of my professors, do not allow them to mention other students.
  4. Encourage early and often online publication via the various online journals and magazines such as Bible and Interpretation and The Marginalia Review. While many may be turned down at first, learning how to write for a wider audience will only benefit them in the end.
  5. Become a blogger

Thoughts?

Wesley’s Rules for Blogging – Stay in Love with God

Stay in Love With God

How does this apply to us, especially those who are other atheist or agnostic, or who simply do not want to engage in theology?

The Wesleyan premise was pretty simple. He looked over the landscape and saw the Anglican Church abandoning the poor in favor of themselves and their own power structures. They had lost the love of God as exhibited in their works to others. They knew God and in many ways served God but simply did not love God. They were themselves the object of their love.

Bloggers can become a self-obsessed lot, blogging more about themselves than any previous outside goals. There are some blogs who are established to deliver information only about the author. There is no engagement, no comments. They exist a website that updates on a regular basis. As a Christian who believes blogging can be a ministry, I find pay sites (especially those designed as a ministry) appalling. What is the love here? What is the direction of the love?

I want to broadly interpret this rule for those who may not necessarily believe. Stay in love with something other than yourself. This provides something of an accountability to your blogging. If you are no longer blogging just to hear yourself speak, then you will blog more responsible. As a Christian, if your blog does not showcase the love of God in some way, then you may be doing it wrong.

Wesley’s Rules for Blogging – Do Good

Wesley’s Second Rule is:

Do Good.

This rule is even further detailed by Wesley:

Do all the good you can, By all the means you can, In all the ways you can, in all the
places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.

Today, blogging is held in a vastly different land. There are free sites, but many are moving to the self-hosted arena. To this end, I try to offer server space and help to new bloggers just starting. I try to share their links on my blog, twitter, and various facebook pages/walls. Why? Because I have no need to insure I am the only voice, but believe the true democratization of blogging will help increase our field and help in combating the sheer stupidity of the internet.

Do all the good you can

Blogging has the capability of doing something rather good. We see this all the time on “mommy blogs” and other niches. Biblioblogging has seen some great moments as well. When someone is fired unjustly, we respond. We someone suffers loss, we respond. When one blogger found most of his books destroyed by mold, people from all over the world responded with donations. We highlight each another’s accomplishments. We help to promote each other. We also help to call attention to injustices.

“Doing Good” is the easiest thing a blogger can do because it takes nothing to create a post highlighting injustice, sharing charitable giving sites, or even posting a note of good cheer once a week.

Just think about the voice your blog can give to the Good in this world. Specifically, you can do good for your fellow bloggers. Start there. Help to call attention to new blogs. Share you knowledge. Promote the books of your fellow bloggers. Help to call attention to specific issues that need to be address, even if on a worldwide stage. Another way is to help them by visiting their Amazon stores. Seriously, there is almost no limit on the amount of good you can do with a blog.

A new (to me) biblioblog: ἐνθύμησις

Hello and welcome to my blog. My name is Jacob Cerone. I am married to my lovely and beautiful wife, Mary Beth. We have a newborn baby named Elijah, and two dogs  (Tölpel and Jazz).  My main interests lie in languages: Greek, Hebrew, Latin, and German.  I also love theology (biblical, systematic, narrative, and historical).  I am currently a student at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary as a ThM candidate. My major professor is Dr. David Alan Black and my research focus is Septuagint studies. I currently attend Cary Alliance Church, and was recently ordained by the Christian and Missionary Alliance. I also serve as research assistant for Dr. David Alan Black. My hope is that all I learn and write will be to the glory of Christ.

via About | ἐνθύμησις.